The Intersection of Learning in Public and Timing: Harnessing Collective Intelligence for Success


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 15, 2023

4 min read


The Intersection of Learning in Public and Timing: Harnessing Collective Intelligence for Success

In today's society, where social media dominates our lives, the fear of being judged often leads us to keep our learning, building, and thinking processes private. However, seeking validation should not be the ultimate goal of our learning journey. Instead, we should aim to tap into the collective intelligence of our network to create constructive feedback loops that help us grow. Learning in public requires us to work on projects we own and to share our progress with others. By keeping a public log of what we build, we not only track our learning progress but also open ourselves up to valuable insights and perspectives from others.

Learning in public can be a scary prospect for many reasons. People may stumble upon outdated information or witness our vulnerabilities during the early stages of a project when we don't have all the answers. However, it is precisely during this phase that learning becomes most valuable. By sharing our journey with others, we invite fresh perspectives and ideas that can enhance our learning experience. As the saying goes, "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." Embracing imperfection and inviting feedback can lead to significant growth and improvement.

On the other hand, timing plays a critical role in the outcome of our work just as much as other variables. The concept of timing deserves our respect and attention. At any given point in time, companies have unique needs, opportunities, and insecurities. Like meeting a loved one, a successful partnership is as much about timing as it is about capabilities and shared values. To lead an industry, companies require different leaders or different leadership styles at different times. This highlights the importance of waiting for processes to unfold and embracing patience.

Achieving a long-term vision without breaking the system requires periods of generating buy-in, exhaustive testing, and allowing time for ideas to sink in. Pacing is crucial, and it often necessitates killing off new ideas to maintain focus. However, incrementalism, although important for maintaining stability and growth, can also limit a company's potential. The local maximum, the closest hill, becomes the limit if we solely rely on incrementalism. Some ideas require full execution before they can truly function, and the best teams understand when and how to make this happen. They know how to harness the power of timing and reorganize themselves to seize opportunities.

Investing, whether in a business or in personal growth, is a discipline that requires a deep understanding of the present to determine the future. Forecasting for the future is an exercise we should all engage in, but it should be grounded in a comprehensive understanding of present-day problems and the state of humanity. In this context, it is important to remember John Maxwell's six principles: being valued, appreciated, trusted, respected, understood, and avoiding being taken advantage of. Additionally, basic human values revolve around finding joy, exploring curiosity, connecting with like-minded individuals, stimulating pride, increasing social status, and influencing society.

When it comes to investing at the right time, my personal criteria align with Scott Belsky's approach. I look for teams that are attempting to make a likely outcome happen in a better way, rather than defying it altogether. The best teams I have come across are those that leverage existing forces and trends to their advantage. They are grounded in the present, understand the current landscape, and harness tailwinds to propel their success.

In conclusion, learning in public and understanding the criticality of timing are two essential components of achieving success. By building in public and sharing our progress, we tap into the collective intelligence of our network and invite valuable feedback and insights. Simultaneously, recognizing the importance of timing allows us to make strategic decisions and seize opportunities that can propel us forward. To harness the power of these concepts, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace imperfection and share your progress openly. Seek feedback from others and be open to constructive criticism. Remember, growth comes from learning and improving.
  • 2. Pay attention to timing and be patient. Allow processes to unfold, generate buy-in, and test ideas exhaustively. Sometimes, the best ideas require full execution before they can truly flourish.
  • 3. Invest in teams and projects that understand the present and leverage existing forces to their advantage. Look for opportunities where you can make a likely outcome happen in a better way.

By incorporating these practices into our learning and decision-making processes, we can unlock our full potential and achieve greater success. Learning in public and understanding the criticality of timing are powerful tools that, when utilized effectively, can propel us towards our goals and aspirations.

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